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George Strait: The Cowboy Rides Away: Live from AT&T Stadium

Album Notes

After three decades of hits, George Strait announced in 2012 he planned to retire after a final tour. Strait didn't plan to abandon music -- he went on record claiming that he still hoped to cut his traditional record a year -- but big arena shows were starting to wear on him, so he launched The Cowboy Rides Away tour, allowing all of his fans one final chance to see him in their hometown. The 2014 live album commemorating that farewell tour captures the final show on the tour, a stop in Arlington, Texas on June 7, 2014 where a host of stars stopped by to celebrate Strait's career. Some of the invited guests are only marginally associated with Strait -- Sheryl Crow, in the middle of her country reinvention, feels a tad out of place even if she amiably smiles through "Here for a Good Time" -- but there are plenty of old friends (Vince Gill, Alan Jackson), family (Bubba Strait), and new guns carrying the torch (Jason Aldean, Eric Church). The 20-song set list means there are many hits that didn't make the cut, but never once do they cross your mind as the concert unfolds: this is all relaxed, easy, and effortlessly entertaining, a reminder of all Strait's great gifts and evidence of why he'll be missed. ~ Stephen Thomas Erlewine



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